19/9/1914 - 10/11/2002
Eddie Zalucki drove in CSRA, AAA, IMCA winning a number of feature races in the 1930s and 1940s, though he failed in his one attempt to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1948. Eddie Zalucki died 19 years ago, he was 88
Born in Hamtramck, Michigan, Edward Zalucki, while still a boy, watched the races at the Veterans of Foreign War Speedway, which later was renamed the Motor City Speedway.
Bitten by the racing bug, Ed hung out around the race track and by the mid 1930s he was helping a friend with the running of his racecar. In 1936 they went to race in Yale, Michigan. However when they got there, his friend didn’t feel like driving and Ed happily took over. He won the race on the 1/4 dirt oval and his driving career was underway.
Zalucki was soon driving big cars and earned a reputation as a rough and tough driver.
Driving 'big cars' in a team with Frank Luptow in 1939 and 1940, Ed won the Michigan State Championship, the International Championship of Canada, the Ohio State Championship and the New York State Championship.
In 1940 August 1940 he was racing at Franklin Speedway when, during one of the heat, he was involved in a collision with Raymond Tellis. Tellis crashed into the stands and ending up in the infield. Eight spectators were injured along with Zalucki. Sadly Tellis died from his injuries.
In 1941 he had considerable success in Dick Van Emerick’s McDowell Offenhauser on the IMCA Western Fair Circuit racing at fairgrounds tracks in places like Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Mitchell, South Dakota.
After WWII he switched to AAA along with Luptow, racing championship cars at Langhorne, Springfield, Detroit Fairgrounds and Milwaukee.
Ed was also a fine mechanic and built two Indy Roadsters in 1948 for Lou Rassey and Norm Olson. Eddie had passed his rookie test at Indianapolis in 1947 but didn't get a chance to try to qualify for the 500 until 1948.
In 1947 he made five AAA starts with a best finish of third at Lakewood in July. The following year he only made the grid on three occasions, missing out at Indy and only managing a season best of 6th at DuQuoin late in the year.
Ed cut back on his racing and after failing to qualify for his only two appearances in 1949 he retired from driving. He went on to became a very accomplished mechanic for Chevrolet and was responsible for much of the engineering on Bill Mitchell's 1959 competition Sting Ray.